Month: December 2014

All the Books I Read But Didn’t Review in 2014

Posted on 12/31/2014 in Book Review / 3 Comments

Dear Books-I-Read-But-Didn’t-Review, It’s not you; it’s me.  I thought most of you were awesome, but I had a huge case of the lazies in 2014.  I promise to try to fix this in 2015.  But that doesn’t mean I’m abandoning you altogether; nope, we’re going to have a fast & dirty quicky right meow.

Rites of Passage by Joy N. HensleyTitle:  Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley Publisher:  HarperTeen Publish Date: 9/9/2014 Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Rating: five-stars

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died. So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty…no matter how much she wants him. As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out. At any cost. Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust…and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

Bad-ass!  Girl power!  What I loved about this book (besides the fact that I took the author’s own copy with me to Mexico so I could say it saw another country) was that it featured a kick-ass female main character living in a boys’ world.  Sam knew she was in for a battle, and she was gonna go down fighting, if she had to.  That Hensley pulls some of the story from her own life just makes it all the more amazing to me.     Unremembered by Jessica BrodyTitle:  Unremembered by Jessica Brody Publisher:  Farrar, Straus, & Giroux Publish Date: 3/5/2014 Genre: Young Adult, Science-fiction Rating: two-half-stars

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe. Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world. Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them. Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget? From popular young adult author Jessica Brody comes a compelling and suspenseful new sci-fi series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

Unremembered was just okay for me.  I liked it, until I started thinking about all the plot holes in it. I didn’t feel anything for the romance; in fact, it did nothing for me.  And I found the whole going-back-to-the-middle-ages bit kind of hokey.  This wasn’t a terrible book by any means, and actually, I think it might make an excellent screen adaptation.  Here’s to hoping. *Thank you to MacMillan for providing a review copy.     Lola and the Boy Next DoorTitle:  LOLA and the BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins Publisher:  Dutton Books Publish Date: 9/29/2011 Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Rating: four-stars

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion…she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket—a gifted inventor—steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

I really enjoyed LOLA, having also read ANNA earlier this year.  I didn’t quite like it as much as the first, but it features diverse character (her fathers are gay), and she was a cute, quirky thing.  I think the thing that didn’t 5-star this for me was the romance: it wasn’t as heady as ANNA was, and I always hold second books up to the predecessors.  Regardless, a super fun, fast and easy read.  I liked getting lost in it and often smiled throughout.         Rule by Jay CrownoverTitle:  Rule by Jay Crownover Publisher:  William Morrow Paperback Publish Date: 5/7/2013 Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Rating: three-half-stars

Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want—and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen. To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is. But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other.

I haven’t read a whole lot of NA, but I am really liking what I have read, and that includes Rule.  It was sexy, a little scandalous and very easy to relate with.  It had plenty of angst (sometimes too much) and the romance between Rule and Shaw was scorching.  It was very obvious to me how much they liked each other, but both had a set of pretty hard heads, so it was also fun to watch them figure things out on their own terms. *Thank you to William Morrow Paperback for providing a review copy.   The Burning Men by Christopher FarnsworthTitle:  The Burning Men by Christopher Farnsworth Publisher:  Amazon Digital Services Publish Date: 2/11/2014 Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Science-fiction Rating: four-stars

A man stands up in a crowded movie theater. A moment later, everything is burning. When the smoke clears and the bodies are removed, there is no trace of any bomb, or device, or even a matchstick. There’s just the corpse of one man, a statue in ash, with an obscene grin still upon his charred skull. Nothing human could have done this. Fortunately, Nathaniel Cade isn’t human, either. Turned into a blood-drinking abomination 145 years ago, he is bound by a special blood oath to serve and protect the United States from supernatural threats. Together with his White House handler, Zach Barrows, Cade races to find out who was behind the murders of a dozen innocent people. They have no suspects, no leads, and no explanations. All they have is Cade’s vampiric talents and a ticking countdown to the next explosion. Because Cade is certain of one thing: this is only where the fire starts…

The Burning Men is what I like to call a dicktease novella.  I loved books 1 – 3 (Blood Oath, The President’s Vampire, and Red, White and Blood, respectively) and I’ve been waiting patiently for book 4 – shit, hurry up, I need it in my life yesterday! – for what feels like forever.  The Burning Men holds on to everything that is near and dear to this series:  it’s fast-paced, funny, mysterious and simply keeps you yearning for more.  It’s a tease.  But, no seriously, Chris, when are you publishing four?!     Mistletoe MagicTitle:  Mistletoe Magic (Copper Mountain Christmas, #3) by Melissa McClone Publisher: Tule Publishing Group Publish Date: 11/21/2014 Genre: Holiday Romance Rating: one-star

Spending a quiet Christmas housesitting and reading novels about hot cowboys sounds perfect to Caitlin Butler. Until a stray kitten brings her face-to-face with Noah, her crush from college. Watching the handsome vet in action melts Caitlin’s heart and brings back long forgotten emotions. She would be safer back at the house lost in the pages of a book. But a toe-curling mistletoe kiss tempts her to stay. Maybe she won’t be spending this Christmas… alone. Veterinarian Noah Sullivan isn’t a Scrooge, but the Christmas Eve tradition of hanging mistletoe in the clinic’s waiting room annoys him. Kissing doesn’t belong at the Copper Mountain Animal Hospital. Noah rethinks his position when Caitlin arrives with a stray kitten she found freezing in the snow. All he wants now is to maneuver the pretty preschool teacher under the mistletoe. If he’s not careful, he’ll wind up on Santa’s naughty list. Mistletoe Magic is a short story companion to the Copper Mountain Christmas series.

I usually like – no, love – holiday romances, but this didn’t do it for me.  It was too short, felt too contrived and was so incredibly sweet, I thought it would start melting.

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